Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Food for Thought

A few snippets from beloved saints.

"If I am not in God's grace, may it please God to put me in it; if I am, may it please God to keep me there." -- St. Joan of Arc

"Since Christ Himself has said, "This is My Body" who shall dare to doubt that It is His Body?" -- St. Cyril of Jerusalem

"Love God, serve God; everything is in that." -- St. Clare of Assisi

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It Figures...

I splurged today on an extra bag of candy to hand out to the trick-or-treaters this week. I know it is a little dangerous, a pregnant woman in a house of Halloween candy when there are still two more days till trick-or-treating, but I was already at the store and it is better to consolidate trips. Since I was completely out of laundry detergent, the trip could not be postponed any longer.

I am not sure if dh will stay and pass out candy or not, but he is especially fond of handing out large handfuls of goodies. The smaller and cuter the kid, the more candy he delves out. Poor teenagers in lame costumes are lucky to get him to hand over a single little morsel. I tend to be the pick two kind of candy giver.

I bought mostly the good stuff, but I spied the big bag of Tootsie Roll Child's Play and couldn't resist. I know most people consider this the cheap stuff, but it was more than $5 for the bag. I happen to have a huge weakness for vanilla Tootsie Rolls, and this is the only time I can get them. So even though I probably had enough candy (could someone provide a good formula for finding the perfect amount of Halloween candy?), I went ahead and bought the bag for insurance-- and the promise of a few vanilla Tootsie Roll treats.

Just my luck, there was one, little, lone vanilla Tootsie Roll in that ginormous bag of cheap candy. O.N.E. That just isn't right...

Signed, Sealed, Soon to be Delivered

Yesterday we waited and waited for our package from the adoption agency containing our LOA from China. It was overnighted to us on Friday and we needed to sign it and get it in the mail overnight back to our agency. Time is of the essence for us if we want dh to travel and be home with Joseph before the birth of our next child. At 5:00 the package had still not arrived. We had two packages last week which both arrived at around 2:00 so I was baffled as to why it was nowhere to be found.

Dh started calling. We had rearranged all our afternoon and evening plans to get this thing out the door, and it wasn't here. Turns out the delivery man left it two or three doors down the street. Thankfully, the neighbor across the street saw him at the wrong house and let me know. I was able to traipse down the road and see the package on a neighbors doorstep. I didn't think anyone was home, so I just grabbed it and ran home-- if you can call a pregnant lady waddle running. I would not make a stealthy thief, I can assure you of that!

The package consisted of two letters in English and Chinese. We basically just had to write in, "We accept Hu Hui Cheng" and sign our names. It all comes to that. Such simple words, with an eternal impact on our lives.

Amazingly, we still got it in the mail and it will be delivered to our agency sometime this morning. They in turn will send it back to China, and other documents to Immigration. We will wait.... again.

Friday, October 23, 2009

We received our LOA

For those not in the international adoption community, LOA means our Letter Seeking Confirmation of Adopter. It means we have been approved by the CCAA to adopt little Joseph. It also begins to bring into focus our travel time frame. Our agency estimates travel will occur in the next 10-13 weeks.

Today, I am 26 weeks along in this pregnancy. Add 13 to 26 and you can see that it seems that this little one from China will be here about the same time as our little one in utero. January is going to be quite busy around here. What a way to usher in 2010, two new little boys.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ever Had One of THOSE Mornings?

Yeah--I'm having one. Running a fever, again. I can't seem to kick whatever this is. Thankfully, I go to the doctor today.

In the midst of trying to maintain order while feeling crummy, I hear my three-year old is brushing her teeth while on the potty. What is the logical consequence of that? I am now trying to figure the best way to extract the toothbrush from the toilet-- a used toilet. To flush or not to flush?

I guess I'll be stopping on my way home from the doctor for a new pink (the girl will have no other color) toothbrush.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Friday Food for Thought-- the Long Edition

Have you read Jen's post about breaking the will of God? If not, do so. It is amazing. I haven't been able to get it off my mind. I was preparing a comment and thought that instead of rambling on in her combox, I would post my protracted response here so as not to bore her readers.

This post obviously strikes many chords with me personally. The caller and I have much in common. I have three biological children and recently adopted a fourth and am in the process to adopt a fifth (special needs) child, and pregnant with the sixth. Do I ever get that nagging voice in the back of my head that says I am really doing this for some prideful reasons? Yes. Do I ever feel as though I am thwarting the will of God by adopting? Do I worry about the impact these decisions have on my other children? Are there moments I think we must be crazy? Yes, yes, and heck yes.

I had those feelings more intensely prior to Juliana's adoption. I felt I was somehow tempting fate bringing into our family a child I knew nothing about. If God wanted me to have more children wouldn't he have given us another pregnancy or spared us the pain of so many miscarriages? I would have moments of doubt, and then I would feel guilty for having doubts. I worried about our intentions, I worried we were biting off more than we could chew. I constantly prayed we were doing God's will, but since God doesn't send us handwritten messages giving us detailed descriptions of exactly how He would like us to carry out His will, I worried we were off the mark.

Then I realized God gave me these desires, he put in my heart the desire for children. My desire to be a good mother was precisely because it is through that vocation I could best serve Him. Yes, I could still be prideful, but that didn't mean He didn't will for us to adopt a child. In some ways, those doubts were more temptations to pride. I needed to accept who I was and who God was. Without Him, I don't even have the power to make mistakes. To expect that unless I am perfect in my intentions, I am not carrying out God's will simply cannot be true. My intentions will never be perfect, I am human. I have to trust that God will bring good as long as I do my best to serve Him now, which means acknowledging my failures, confessing them, and then working hard to serve him better next time.

Perhaps my favorite paragraph from Jen's post was:

"What I eventually learned that has brought me immeasurable peace on this subject is that it's more important to ponder how God can bring good out of any situation -- even bad, sinful situations that are the result of fallible humans' mistakes -- than it is to ponder what the details of his will are for any specific scenario. I've stopped spending so much time asking "Was this God's will?" and am trying to spend more time asking, "How can I serve God in love at this moment, right now?" Maybe the situation I'm in is the result of a bad move, but as long as I keep turning to God there will be an opportunity to bring love out of it."

I can't say it any more eloquently than that. Her recommendation of the book He Leadeth Me is one I heartily second. I read and blogged a little about this gem of a book last spring. There are any number of issues in our little household in which we find ourselves looking for God's will and asking ourselves are we clouding His will with our own desires. They come in the form of how we manage our finances, how we manage our time, our discipline techniques, our schooling choices. Really, the list is endless. As I quoted in that older post,

"To predict what God's will is going to be, to rationalize about what his will must be, is at once a work of human folly and yet the subtlest of all temptations. The plain and simple truth is that his will is what he actually wills to send us each day, in the way of circumstances, places, people, and problems. The trick is to learn to see that-- not just in theory, or not just occasionally in a flash of insight granted by God's grace, but every day..."
From He Leadeth Me by Fr. Walter Ciszek.

Now that Juliana has been part of our family for almost a year, so many of those doubts have melted away. Before the adoption, even on the plane ride to China, I worried about our decision. Now I can't imagine life without her. On the plane ride home, Juliana had a terrible fever. It was higher than any of my children had ever experienced. I was worried sick for her and I was tired from the whirlwind trip we had taken, and an exhausting plane ride. On the 11 hour flight from Tokyo, I sat next to a Korean man. He had two daughters of his own. He asked about Juliana and was shocked to learn we had three more little girls at home. He asked if I really thought I could love Juliana as much as my biological children. Had he asked me that question two weeks earlier on the flight to China, I might have been hesitant. However, after two short weeks, looking at that dear sweet child, sick as she was, I already knew the answer, I already loved her that much.

When I think back on the process, the moment I truly realized this was without a doubt God's plan-- Juliana's baptism. No matter what my intentions were, no matter how flawed I was, this child, solely through God's providence was welcomed into the His family, His church. That moment was so monumental, I knew that my intentions were completely insignificant and I thanked God for taking them and making something of beauty beyond comprehension.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Not at all Wordless Wednesday*

* but a good picture nonetheless.

Today, I was elated to finally get a post-surgery picture of Joseph (now isn't the time, but we are rethinking the name, is that wrong?). He looks amazing, doesn't he? I'm no doctor, and I know it is only one picture, but I still am so thankful at how successful the surgery seems to have gone. His palette was not repaired, which we fully expected, but one surgery down.

I can't tell you how odd it was to find out the child we are praying for, preparing our home for, who in many ways is already a member of our family, has had surgery and we couldn't be there to offer support and comfort. I am eternally grateful he seems to be very well cared for. The foster home works very hard to take undernourished kids and fatten them up before sending them for surgery. This certainly seems to be the case with our little one.

Now if only we would get some word from China... We are waiting on our LOA (letter of acceptance), this means another round of paperwork before our TA (travel approval) which allows us to travel to pick up this cutie. Each milestone Juju crosses, each new word, each new bond that is established, each kiss she offers, reminds me of the milestones we are missing.

Today, Banana's Literature lesson introduced the phrase, "All in time." I submit this process is "All in God's time..."

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Pencil Dilemma

It's Monday morning in our home, after clearing the breakfast dishes and getting myself a second cup of coffee, it is time to get back to school-- Mondays ugh. I printed off a cute pumpkin activity for Bophie to keep her out of my hair as I begin Math with the older girls. Math and Monday, not a favorite combination in this house.

My dilemma? Inevitably, as soon as I want to get down to task, neither girl can find a pencil. I am an organization junky. I strive to be sure there is a place for everything. I have a pencil basket to return pencils when finished. The only pencil in the pencil bin this morning was a nub of a thing with no eraser and all of an inch long. BTW, it is not a nub because I work my children to the bone. It is the way it is because some of my girls get too much of a kick out of sharpening the things. The eraser is missing because other girls chew on anything they get their hands on.

I buy pencils by the truck load. Last week, I pulled out at least a dozen new pencils. Where do they go? Are they eaten? I wouldn't think my cooking was bad enough my children would resort to eating pencils. Still, this morning, no one could locate a decent pencil. Last week, I gave each of them two of my favorite mechanical pencils. I let them choose a color so they could keep track of the pencil. Banana chose blue, Bear purple, Bophie of course chose pink, and I was left with orange. This morning, none of those eight pencils are in the bin. They even lost my orange pencils!

Being the frugal (dear readers know I am cheap) mom I am, I purchased hundreds of pencils when the school supplies went on sale in September. I have a secret stash of pencils, some traditional number two's and other coveted mechanical pencils. I know this morning I could pull out new pencils for everyone. I could replenish the stash again. I could get everyone to work, but how long will my stash last under such conditions? If I put out 20 pencils today, will there be any there on Friday, let alone next Monday?

So, here I am at 10 AM, asking myself what to do about the pencil problem, when it occurs to me that there must be other more important things to dwell on... I think the next time I'm out, I'll buy a thousand pack of pencils (do they sell such a thing?), then maybe I won't care when there are no pencils to be found. I am also making sure my favorite mechanical pencils get a new home, safe from grubby, pencil-hungry girls.

Back to Math lessons...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Food for Thought

I had really hoped to post something relating to guardian angels since today is the feast of guardian angels. However, most of the tidbits I found about angels were a little too schmoozy for my taste. So you get a good quote from my patron saint, St. Frances of Rome. She was especially close to her guardian angel who would light her path so she could tend to the poor. For this reason she is patroness of motorists.

Her quote seems very fitting to our week here. I missed Mass last Sunday because of JuJu's emergency room visit (a very, very rare occurrence for me). Since then I have wanted to attend daily Mass each day. This hasn't been possible because each girl has successively come down with this bug. Today is first Friday and a feast, and I am afraid we won't make it to Mass. Banana is going to have to go to the doctor for a strep test.

“It is most laudible in a married woman to be devout, but she must never forget that she is a housewife and sometimes must leave God at the altar to find him in housekeeping.” ~ St. Frances of Rome

And just so I am not entirely neglectful of today's feast, this little quote made me smile after a long week of tending to sick children:

"The reason angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly." ~G.K. Chesterton, "Orthodoxy"